The layers of the earth's crust act as a filter with respect to seimic energy arriving at a given station. Consequently the motion recorded at the surface depends not only on the frequency content of the source and on the response characteristics of the recording instrument, but also on the elastic parameters and thicknesses of the transmitting layers. This latter dependence is the basis for a method of investigating the structure of the crust and upper mantle.

To facilitate this investigation a set of master curves for the transfer functions of the vertical and horizontal component of longitudinal waves and their ratios is presented. The calculation of these curves is in terms of a dimensionless parameter. This calculation allows one to group the curves corresponding to different crustal models into families of curves. The characteristics of these curves are discussed from the point of view of their “periodicity” in the frequency domain and of their amplitude in order to investigate the influence of the layer parameters. Considerations, either of constructive interference or of Fourier analysis of a pulse multiply reflected within the layer system, reveal that the amplitudes of the transfer curves depend on the velocity contrasts at the interfaces of the system. The “periodicity” or spacing of the peaks depends on the time lags between the first arrivals and the arrivals of the different reverberations. Closely spaced fluctuations correspond to large-time lags, and widely spaced fluctuations to short-time lags.

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